Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Robert Paul Weston

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Robert Paul

September 29, 2009 -

Open Book: Toronto:

What was your first publication and where was it published?

Robert Paul Weston:

That would be a story from 2005, which appeared in On Spec #62. It was a story that took place in a world in which grief manifested itself physically, in the form of elephants.

OBT:

Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.

RPW:

I was in rural Japan and I met this ancient woman who tried to convince me that the Japanese were in fact indigenous Canadians. She drew a map of the world from a gazillion years ago, back when eastern Russia and northern Canada were linked. Then she drew stick figures and helpful arrows to indicate the paths of migration. Does that even count? I have no idea if she had any expertise in the matter, but it certainly influenced me, though not in any way I can clearly define. But yes, I was influenced.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

RPW:

The Time Out Guide to whichever city they landed in. (Don’t you think residents ought to use tourist guides a whole lot more?)
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (She da queen, yo, so you have to read at least one, right? It’s my favourite.)
Why I Hate Canadians by Will Ferguson (The horrible truth about us)

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

RPW:

A bare room with a lot of windows, but preferably no view; a desk and a chair; a large spiral notepad and a mechanical pencil.

OBT:

William Faulkner was once asked what book he wished he had written; he chose Moby-Dick (with Winnie-the-Pooh as a close second). Is there a book that you wish you had written?

RPW:

Skellig by David Almond

OBT:

Is there a book that you think you should have read by now but haven’t?

RPW:

There must be a ton of them, but I can’t think of any right off the top of my head. No, wait. The Iliad.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

RPW:

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

OBT:

Do you have a specific readership in mind when you write?

RPW:

Me. I’m the only audience I can be sure of. And even then, it’s iffy.

OBT:

What are you working on right now?

RPW:

First draft of my third novel.

OBT:

Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to get published?

RPW:

Keep calm and carry on.

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